The flow of information from the Aurora Theater shooting is now in official recycle mode. Nothing news is coming and we still have to sort out through the garbage to find some nuggets of truth. And boy! We do have garbage out there.
First Question: Was the shooting preventable? Simple answer is no. No matter how many laws or how much surveillance, overseeing & invasion of privacy you can exert, nobody can predict crazy actions. Thinking otherwise is stupidly foolish. If a bunch of goat herders decided and accomplished to bring down two skyscrapers with planes even though the Government had its resources all the way up, there is no way in hell a local PD agency could detect the intention of a lone gunman who kept his ideas pretty much to himself.
Second Question: Was the shooting controllable? Simple answer is yes. It would not have been easy or safe, but it beats deadly inaction. Sadly nobody at the theater possessed the tools to the job right or even half-assed plus we have been conditioned not to put up a fight against bad people but to cower & hide under the very strange assumption that somehow the Bad Guy, the guy who is shooting and killing people will suddenly feel remorse or at least a hint of humanity and let you live.
Let’s talk for a second about the Dumb Clown (my chosen nickname for the shooter.) He is probably of scrambled brains, living in a world of fantasy but mercifully ignorant enough to have selected shooting as a way to get himself a body count. Why he do it? probably a misguided sense of needing fame or just wanted to experience the thrill of a real life video game scenario, who knows? To me he was not after the body count per se but the drama and attention that his actions would get. If he really wanted to stack bodies up, there are easier & sneakier ways to do so in the cheap and that would only take a shopping trip to Home Depot & 7-11 to accomplish.
Third Question: Would an armed citizen had made the difference? Answer: yes. Naysayers will jump now and say it was impossible for several reasons. Let’s go through them.
1) Using a gun might have resulted in people killed. This one is perhaps the most mentioned and most stupid of all excuse I heard and saw online. People were being killed and wounded already by a madman, bring out your sidearm was not going t o make things worse, specially if the shooter had any basic knowledge on using a gun.
2) The Dumb Clown used Tear Gas/Pepper Spray Grenades and you couldn’t shoot. First, I don’t think neither tear gas nor pepper spray was used by the Dumb Clown. From what I gathered he would probably used some sort of smoke marker to create confusion. This video taken outside the theater shows people coming out and nobody appears to be suffering from the effects of either CS or Pepper Spray.
No rubbing at the eyes coughing, sneezing, snot pouring out the nose, etc. can be observed on anyone. Neither tear gas nor pepper spray are incapacitant but irritants. They will not knock you down but in the extremes of cases or if the person has a previous condition. Having been the unaware and unwilling recipient of tear gas before, I can tell you can perform; perhaps not a peak performance, but you can and you shall only need to ask the participants of any of the Occupy Wall Street events. Could an armed citizen overcome the gases and respond to a shooting in progress with his firearm? Challenging but yes.
3) The shooter was wearing body armor from head to toe, he could not be stopped. Disagree with this statement. Some reports/comment/gossip are now saying the Dumb Clown was not wearing full heat to toes armor and perhaps not even armor in his chest area but that was only a tactical vest with no ballistic protection. There was a helmet but I do not know if it was rated for stopping/deflecting shots.
But for the sake of argument let’s say he was indeed covered with armor, it still would make a difference if he got banged repeatedly by bullets because body armor stops penetration of bullets but not the impact. Kinetic energy from the bullet must go somewhere and that is usually the body as seen in the picture fro PoliceOne.com:
Now that hurts. And now, let’s see what happens when an old school helmet, ballisticaly inferior to the new ones, is subjected to handgun rounds. Go to 01:03.
No, they did not penetrate either, but you can safely figure the shooter would have developed a nasty case of concussion.
“But you didn’t kill him!” So what? The job is to stop the shooter from killing more people and as past history has shown. most of these mass killers go to pieces when confronted with deadly force and feel any kind of pain (New Life Church, Trolley Square Mall) and some have given up immediately the moment they face an armed citizen ready to shoot them (Appalachian School of Law, Pearl High School.)
These type of shooters are not precise planners with rational train of thoughts but untrained individuals with a Hollywood knowledge of how firearms work and what can they do and little on discipline to do a thorough research. In their minds, a plan is prepared to perfection, no variations will happen and the desired reward will come. They probably have not made plans for after the event other tan basking in the “glory” of attention. But if somebody interferes with their plan, everything goes to hell as they did not prepare for armed resistance and contingency plans were never in their minds. In my opinion, the moment the Dumb Clown started to feel the impact of bullets all over his body, his attack would have collapsed, he would probably made a bee line for the emergency/exit doors and leave as fast as he could or give up entirely.
And before I forget, there is indeed one chance altogether to kill the shooter armored the way the Dumb Clown was suppose to be armored: face shot. He was wearing a rubber gas mask which is not bullet resistant. I know it is a long shot, but in that deadly race I am sure i would take that bet 🙂
So, the Aurora shooting could have been survivable if a citizen was present with a firearm and used it. The chances would grow even better if 2 people in the audience were carrying and used their guns and the chances grow bigger and bigger the more people carry.
Maybe that is why Mass Shooting at gun ranges are almost unheard of.